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By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples' Struggle
10 February, 2010

The International League of Peoples' Struggle strongly condemns the illegal arrest of 43 health workers and medical doctors by joint forces of the military and police last 6 February 2010 in Morong, Rizal, Philippines and their torture and continuing detention.

Since rendering social services to the people is the least of the reactionary government's concern, a nongovernmental organization like the Council for Health and Development (CHD-Philippines) has been delivering health and medical services to the people. Part of the CHD program is to give workshops and training to members of the community so they in turn can render health services to the masses.

Last 6 February, the community health workers , which included doctors, nurses and midwives, were participating in a one week First Responders Training sponsored by the CHD , when around 300 heavily armed elements of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army and the Rizal Philippine National Police barged in the training venue.

Without any warrant, the armed reactionaries arrested the health workers, handcuffed and blindfolded them. They brought them to a military camp where they were held incommunicado, interrogated and subjected to various forms of torture like deprivation of of sleep and food, slappings and punches, electric shock and indignities.

The reactionary authorities tried to justify these brutalities by falsely accusing the health workers of being members of the New People's Army. During the raid on the training venue,, the military raiders followed its usual modus operandi by planting weapons and explosives and documents as false evidence.

The raid against the health workers is part of the regime's policy to harass and intimidate opposition to its rule and policies such as CHD which has been critical of Arroyo's policies which are detrimental to the people, especially in the health and medical field.

The national policy behind the extra-judicial killings, the enforced disappearances and the systematic violations of human rights is embodied in the so-called counter-insurgency scheme of the US-Arroyo regime's Operation Bantay-Laya (OBL-Operation Freedom Watch). Under OBL gross human rights violations are systematically committed. OBL gives the military, police and paramilitary the license to kill, intimidate and harass any opposition to the US-Arroyo regime.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is determined to seal her infamous presidency as the worst violator of human rights, including political, social, economic and cultural rights. Under the auspices of the US global policy of terror, the Arroyo regime knows no bounds for its perpetration oft extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of oppressing the peoples. Under the US policy of “neoliberal globalization, the regime has subjected the people to the most brutal forms of exploitation on a wide scale.

The ILPS demands the immediate release of the 43 health workers! It calls on its member organizations and the international community to make the strongest demand that they can muster for the release of the health workers and to condemn and hold protest actions against the gross and systematic violation of human rights in the Philippines. The US-Arroyo regime must be held accountable for its crimes against the Filipino people.###

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